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Cicia Sets Benchmark For Schools In Rural And Maritime Areas

Cicia High School in Lau deserves a special recognition for being one of the only two schools that achieved a 100 per cent pass rate in last year’s Fiji School
15 Jan 2015 08:07
Cicia Sets Benchmark For Schools In Rural And Maritime Areas
Cicia Principal Isikeli Karikaritu with his family at their home in Suva yesterday. Photo: Jona Konataci

Cicia High School in Lau deserves a special recognition for being one of the only two schools that achieved a 100 per cent pass rate in last year’s Fiji School Leaving Certificate examination.

Isikeli Karikaritu, the principal, acknowledged  that without the contribution of all the stakeholders, the school would not have been able to achieve it.

The stakeholders included the teachers, students, parents, guardians, families, community, faith groups, and the school management committees, one on the island and one in Suva.

The Suva committee headed by chairman Jimione Buwawa has been responsible for financially propping up the school. It’s main role is fund-raising. It ensures that the school needs are met whether its stationery or building maintenance or food.

Cicia is an island with five villages, a population of more than two thousand, four primary schools and a boarding secondary school of 147 students supported by the old-fashioned Fijian communal spirit.

Once, after a cyclone ravaged the island including the school, the villagers refused to give in. They did not wait for Government help to arrive. Mr Karikaritu rallied the villagers to build makeshift shelters to restart classes right away. He wanted minimal class disruptions. Mr Buwawa’s committee rolled into action and provided essential and emergency supplies.

The school, based at Mobula Village, gets meals provided to the students free of charge daily by each of the five villages.

Despite its isolation and lack of facilities compared to bigger and richer urban schools, Cicia High has done the island proud.

Twenty students sat for FSLC and all passed. In the external form seven examination, 26 students sat, 25 passed. Only one failed due to medical reasons.

It’s no wonder that Cicia parents who live in Suva and other urban centres have had a re-think of where to send their children to school. Some have sent their children to the island because they are impressed by the academic results. Cicia’s performance goes against the general perception that island schools are weak academically. It vindicates Government policy and belief that schools in rural and maritime areas can rise to the same level as urban schools.

Cicia has shown that it can be done. To be ranked alongside Queen Victoria School, one of the country’s high-profile schools, is no small achievement. It has set a benchmark for other schools which faces similar challenges. It is also an eye-opener for fancied schools and many students and parents.

If Cicia can do it, they can also.

Mr Karikaritu, born and bred in Cicia, believed in the school. He regarded his mandate to set up the school as a mission. It was more like mission impossible. But he persevered, kept his self belief and gave it everything he got.

Today, he and many of his fellow Cicia villagers look back with a sense pride and satisfaction.

They have taught us that best facilities alone cannot produce successful students. Commitment and the right attitude are essential.

Cicia High’s culture and ethos have stood the test of time. They have set the standards for others to follow.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj




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